FRINGE

Not Yet

No copyright inFRiNGEment intended.

Note: anytime after Dream Logic. A bar, --again.

***

"What do you think? A last one for the road?"

She nodded briefly, avoiding his insisting stare. He gestured discreetly to the bartender for a refill. She was playing with her empty glass, caught up in her thoughts.

"I had a bad dream last night," he finally said. "The first one in years." He looked embarrassed and relieved at the same time that he could tell her. His hands started to draw in the air complicated patterns of their own. "What are the odds? I guess that when I revealed my Walter magical mantra, I probably broke the spell. I fell asleep on the couch downstairs and when I woke up, Walter was kind of keeping watch."

"Creepy?" Her voice was even, she was only being polite. Her mind seemed elsewhere.

"Not so much," he smiled. "But surprisingly so, I found it comforting to have him back in my life. At that precise moment, he was the right person to awake to." He was slowly calming down.

"There's something you're not saying," she caught his stare and looked worried.

He couldn't help but feel bad. Maybe it was not something he could discuss with her. Not tonight. "How can you tell?"

She tilted her head, chewing on her lower lip. They locked gazes. She seemed to mull over the right way to answer. "I can tell," she shrugged dismissively. "If you didn't think it was important, you wouldn't mind telling. It makes sense."

"Well," he was grinning now, "what can I say, if I'm that predictable, I might as well become a cop. In my line of work, predictable isn't a good thing," he joked.

"And now you're trying to talk me out of asking," she smiled back. "That's fine, I don't mean to pry."

"You don't. And, to be honest, you're right, it's been bothering me since. I can't figure out what's wrong. I just felt wrong at the time that he was watching me. But maybe I was tired and imagining things."

"Yep. Seattle was a bit hard to get back from." She let her eyes take on a far-off glaze.

"And your guru can't help you with that?" he asked abruptly.

She snapped back to reality and seemed distressed. "He's not my guru, --well, he's not a guru."

"I know, I didn't intend to hurt your feelings. I'm sorry."

She nodded, accepting his apology. "He's a bowling tender," she chuckled.

"Excellent, you do understand that it sounded really weird, don't you?"

"I bet. But he's been good to me… so far."

"If you don't mind my asking, I didn't picture you as a bowling fan…"

"He helped Nina Sharp with her recovery, after she had cancer."

"Oh I see! Now Nina Sharp is your BF?" She flinched and he sensed he was pushing too hard. "Sorry, if that Sam guy can help you, good for you, you need all the help you can get. I was just hoping that you'd let me help you."

He brushed her hand with his and then naturally his hand went up her arm and he stroked it gently. His hand stayed there. She gave him an uncertain smile, looked away and tucked a strand of loose hair behind her ear. His hand went back to his glass.

"Come on! Make your move already, damn it!"

"Alex? What's going on?" asked the cute black girl who was sipping a fancy cocktail.

"Nothing, that's exactly the problem," exclaimed Alex with a desperate sigh. She shrugged and pointed a finger. "There's this cute couple at the bar, --no, don't turn around, please or he'll spot us, he's been watching since they got inside, and this girl, she doesn't seem to know what she wants. Man, if I were straight, I could fall for a guy like this."

Astrid chuckled. "Are you so bored that you prefer to spend our night watching strangers and fantasize about their love lives?" she made a face, pretending to sulk.

"Don't be silly! Of course not, but these two, they're really something else. They've been dancing around each other for a half hour and I'm pretty sure he's going home alone."

"Okay, now I'm concerned. What's got into you?" she placed her drink back on the coaster and tried to get a glimpse of the couple her friend was so thrilled about. But some patrons were blocking her view. "What is it that is so extraordinary about them?"

"Well, she's your typical WASP girl, tall, blonde, sophisticated, but with an edge, if you know what I mean. And he's just plain gorgeous. But curiously, I'd say they don't play in the same league. There's something different about him…"

"Like he could be dangerous, you mean?"

"I wouldn't go that far, but given the circumstances, I'm guessing he could."

"Listen to you. You never stop do you? You're not on the job tonight Alex, stop profiling people!" Astrid grinned.

Her friend's expression changed. "I think there're leaving," she stated.

"Don't look so disappointed. I'm here…"

"Astrid, I think I know her."

"Now you're making me jealous." Astrid stood up and saw Peter and Olivia leaving. He was holding the door for her and when she went outside, his hand came naturally to the small of her back. They were laughing and she looked radiant. Peter leaned to her ear. She giggled and shook her head. He brushed aside a stray lock of her hair and smoothed it back in place.

Astrid dropped back on her seat. "Oh my. Of course you know her. She's with the FBI."

"She is? Really? I can't place her."

"Actually, she's my boss."

"Oh I see, Dunham, right? You told me about her."

"Yep, I sure did."

"Now I'm the one who's jealous. You never told me that your boss was this beautiful creature…" she teased her. "So who's he? How can he be with the FBI? He doesn't seem to fit the average profile. And by the way, I think they still use this gigantic book of rules and regulations, you know, the one against dating on the job..."

"He's not FBI. More like a civilian consultant."

"Still against rules and regulations, right?" Alex insisted, her eyes sparkling.

"Yes it is, but they're not dating," said Astrid matter-of-factly, back to sipping on her cocktail.

"Well, not yet."